Let’s just get this out of the way: Milwaukee psychedelic band Ravi/Lola has a new album coming out on August 9 called Neighborhood Daydream. The album contains a song about Milwaukee historian John Gurda. We’ve heard it, and it’s amazing. Seriously. There’s a line that goes “He was probably taking notes in his mother’s womb.” And there’s a whistling breakdown. Incredible.
BUT. We’re not going to hear the John Gurda song right now. (It’s called “Scholar Gurda, John,” by the way.) Instead, we’re proud to debut the equally great (if Gurda-less) “Winter In Winter.” It’s the impossibly chipper and head-bopping closer of Neighborhood Daydream, and it should be catnip for anyone who loves old-school Of Montreal, perfectly constructed and playfully realized pop music, and/or delightful music in general.
Neighborhood Daydream is the follow-up to Ravi/Lola’s 2017 album Shape Up Shoulders. That album was a big step up from its predecessor (2015’s II: Ravi’s Tramadol), but this one is a huge step up. As for the theme of the record, we’ll let frontman Casey Seymour explain. (Did we mention there’s also a song about Mailman Mike? And that it’s featured in the latest episode of Milwaukee Kitchen?)
“I didn’t specifically write these songs with a neighborhood theme in mind, it just kind of developed organically into that concept. I enjoy writing stories and character sketches in our songs and it coincidentally came out with a neighborhood focus. The neighborhood of Riverwest and the neighborhoods of Milwaukee in general inspired me, as well as the people in my life. I’m always fascinated with the ordinary as I believe it is what shapes and influences our lives. Mike Boothe (‘Mike The Mailman’) and John Gurda (‘Scholar Gurda, John’) both were people worthy of celebrating which was the specific motivation to write about them. For ‘Scholar Gurda, John,’ I wanted to have it as a sing-a-long, something that could be sung at a bar or gathering, long after his existence. ‘Me, We, And It’ is about a local band, ‘Free Comb’ is about getting school pictures taken, ‘Pinstripers’ is about scenesters.”
Ravi/Lola—which also features Anton Sieger, Robert Thomas, and Nick Wieczorkowski—will celebrate the release of Neighborhood Daydream on Friday, August 16 at Linneman’s Riverwest Inn. Wavy V and The Old Northwest will play in support. The album will be released on cassette and CD on Friday, August 9 via Midwest Action. If you want to hear the Gurda song (and you do), get ready.